It might sound counter-intuitive, but I think the pandemic has clarified my outlook on life. The world was turned upside down, but somehow it made me see things clearly for the first time.
Before all the havoc started, I was a bit lost really – stuck obsessing over how other people saw me or what they expected of me rather than being comfortable or confident with what I wanted to be. I was securely trapped in the toxic bubble of requiring validation before doing anything for myself.
I didn’t know how to think about myself without considering others’ perceptions, which created a super toxic mindset of constantly seeking conformity and approval. All I really wanted was to fit in and ensure my actions didn’t make me stand out or cause anyone any discomfort, without considering whether I was making myself uncomfortable by constantly conforming.
When lockdown left me alone with my thoughts, I was scared at first. I wasn’t sure I wanted to face up to what was really making me feel less-than. But I’m so glad I was finally able to.
Being apart from people and not constantly attending social occasions, although lonely, made me realise that it was stupid to care so much about others’ thoughts. Who cares if you talk loudly, know a lot about a certain topic or dress in a kooky way?
I realised that you just need to own who you are, who cares if some random person takes offence or laughs at you? Basically, it’s far from the end of the world if someone decides not to like you. As long as you’re not being outright horrible, that’s on them, not you.
I’m not saying I’ve undergone some dramatic identity shift or personality change, but I think I look at things completely differently post-pandemic. Choose who and what you like, and don’t shy away from them, even if some social norm or pressure tries to persuade you otherwise.
I’m planning on living my life based on what feels good and right to me rather than what I see online or hear about on the grapevine. My life is mine – not anyone else’s.